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Find a New Job That Fits Your Skills

New research guides today's talent to tomorrow's jobs

brickmason working

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A new report offers job seekers alternative options in fields where their skills may translate well.

Mail carriers could be good fits working as brickmasons. Printing press operators could find success as farm or ranch managers. And secretaries could be particularly suited for careers as convention planners.

These are a few surprising finds from new research that attempts to answer a key question: Which jobs and careers are the best matches for your skills and experience? Each year, thousands of workers are forced to grapple with this query, whether they have lost their jobs or are just eager to explore different fields.

The report, produced by the Boston Consulting Group and published by the World Economic Forum, offers job seekers alternative career options. The researchers analyzed the skills that employers are seeking, the skills that workers are using on the job today, and then compared them to labor-market forecasts. “We wanted to create aspirational pathways for both employers and employees to look outside the box,” says Bledi Taska, chief economist at Burning Glass Technologies, a labor market research group that provided the data for the report. “A lot of people think, That’s not the job for me, but it is.”

The report focuses on two fields now shedding a large number of jobs: office and administrative work, and manufacturing or production. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that these sectors will eliminate 1.15 million jobs by 2026, largely due to the increasing use of new technologies.

The research suggests that many workers in endangered jobs are well suited to succeed in other industries that they might never have considered. For example, bank tellers possess the skills necessary to succeed as dispensing opticians. Both jobs require expert skills in customer service and mathematics, along with experience using accounting software.

Secretaries and administrative assistants have a variety of options, including event planners, paralegals, billing clerks, property managers, and training and development specialists.

Job seekers from the manufacturing and construction-related fields may want to consider careers in installation, maintenance, and repair — or farming, forestry, and fishing. Printing press operators or prepress technicians may be good fits for farm and ranch managers.

“This is the closest occupation to what the worker already is doing, but there will always be some additional skills you will need to get, either on the job or through training,” Taska says. “But it’s not impossible, and you’ll have a future. These are career pathways; not just the next step.”

Looking to get started on your job search? AARP’s Job Board can help you find openings in your area.